By now, you’ve likely read the reviews across a variety of outlets, and you’ve decided to drop your hard-earned cash on Batman: Arkham Asylum come payday. Good choice, as it's a fun and fantastic experience. If you own both a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360, you might wonder, is that exclusive downloadable content worth the nudge toward the PS3 version? The answer depends how much you plan to invest in the game’s Challenge Modes.
In my review, I mention that although the Challenge Modes allow you to sharpen your skills, they’re not really the strongest reason to play the game. Arkham Asylum’s storyline is rich, and it beautifully blends several different gameplay types together to make a well-crafted experience. But imagine if a game like Assassin’s Creed broke up all of its questing components into timed missions where you had to interrogate your target’s associates, or combat missions that timed how quickly you could dispatch of guards. Sure, there’s an audience for that. But it’s my opinion that after playing through Arkham Asylum, the game’s combat and stealth missions excel because they integrate so smoothly. It's like eating the individual ingredients of a meal, rather than enjoying the whole recipe.
But if you’re head over heels for all things Batman, you’ll be glad to know that the free DLC is more than just a skin-swap. The Joker plays through the same stages as Batman, but with some unique features. The stealth-based missions are a little tougher, since the Clown Prince of Crime lacks grappling hooks and gear that allows Batman to sneak into the rafters. Instead, you’ll have to rely even more on stealth and wits to circumvent armed Arkham security guards. Besides his fists, The Joker is armed with a pistol that does a big wallop of damage to guards. In the brawling sections, his moveset isn’t dramatically different from Batman’s, but he’s armed with a can of spray gas to stun opponents. Plus, his animations are uniquely Joker, and Mark Hamill’s unmistakable voice acting is on full display.
Is it worth delaying a purchase because, as one reader suggested, he wanted to buy a PS3 Slim upon returning to school in a few weeks? It depends on how much you plan to knock around in Batman: Arkham Asylum’s challenge modes. If you’re a die-hard Batman fanatic, it’s certainly an extra nudge in the direction of the Dual Shock. But if you don’t really care about online leaderboards, high scoring combos, and quick-kill stealth missions, then I recommend the Harvey Dent method of decision-making. No, that doesn’t mean shooting people after flipping the coin. Either way, you’ll win.